Posted by News Express | 31 July 2021 | 650 times
Abductors of the students of Bethel Baptist High School, Damishi, Kaduna, are said to have demanded for another N50 million ransom after collecting N100 million for the release of the remaining 83 students.
The bandits had yesterday, released 28 of the students, after a N100m was paid, insisting that the remaining 83 students will be released in batches.
A source who disclosed this to THISDAY in an interview yesterday said the parents have been destabilised and heartbroken about the latest development.
According to the source, “After the parents contributed N100 million for the release of their children, the bandits ended up releasing only 28 of them, promising that others will be released in batches.
“Now they are demanding an additional ransom of N50 million to release the remaining 83 students in their custody.
“Look, the parents are hopeless and devastated by this development having sold everything they had to raise N100 million that was given to the bandits.”
President of the Nigerian Baptist Convention, Rev. Israel Akanji, on Sunday, denied that the church did not pay any ransom for the release of the students.
Akanji however said he was not in a position to say whether the parents and well-wishers paid ransom to the bandits.
“There are parents, well-wishers and neighbours who are struggling for the children to be released, therefore we cannot really restrict people from their actions in getting the children out, but as a group we do not believe in paying ransom.
“I cannot answer for those who probably must have been involved in certain ways” Akanji said in an interview last Sunday after reuniting the 28 students with their parents.
However, in his reaction, the President of the Baptist Conference, Kaduna, Rev. Ishaya Jangado, declined to comment on the new development when contacted.
Jangado, who is the proprietor of the school, said he was not aware of the fresh demand, adding that there was no update from the bandits.
“Up till now there is no update, we are still waiting for them (bandits) to release the remaining students,” Jangado said in a telephone chat yesterday.
On July 5, 2021, the bandits invaded the school, in Damishi community, located along the Kaduna-Kachia Road, about six kilometres away from Kaduna metropolis and abducted 121 students.
One of the students was later released by the bandits on health grounds.
A total of six others escaped at various times. One of the escaped students was said to have been re-abducted by another gang of bandits while on his way out of the forest.
His parents were said to have paid a ransom of N130,000 before he was released.
The 28 students released last Saturday were reunited with their parents at the school premises on Sunday.
Many of those whose children were not among those released were not happy as they wept profusely.
Two mothers, including a pregnant woman, collapsed and had to be revived.
Jangado, while addressing parents during the event, said the bandits would release the remaining students in batches and appealed to them to remain calm.
“I have been talking to these people (bandits) and they told me they would be releasing the children in batches and they have released the first batch.
“I am trusting God that very soon again, others will come.
“So, please, I am begging you, calm down. This good work that the Lord has started”, Jangado had told the parents during the reunion.
Besides the payment of ransom, the parents were said to have been supplying the bandits with food items for the feeding of the children.
The bandits had earlier asked the parents to supply food items to feed the children after taking their victims immediately after their abduction.
They demanded 30 bags of rice, 20 bags of beans,15 Jerricans of palm oil, 20 cartoons of maggi and 10 bags of salt which were supplied to them.
They were also said to have demanded for Tarpaulin to provide shelter for the students.
Mohammad Jalige, spokesman of the Kaduna State Police Command could not be reached when contacted as his mobile telephone was switched off.
However, the Kaduna State Government has promised to ensure that the remaining students will be released.
The Commissioner for Education, Dr. Shehu Makarfi had in a statement on Tuesday said “the government will do the needful to ensure the release of the remaining students still in captivity.”
He also said the state government would ensure that those students who have been freed, write the ongoing NECO examination.
The commissioner, who noted that some of the students might have registered for the exam, said the state government was working with the authorities of NECO to enable them write the exams.
“There are students among them that might have registered for the ongoing NECO Senior Secondary School Certificate examination.
“The Ministry of Education and NECO Zonal Office, Kaduna, will ensure that they write their examination at the nearest centre to the students,” he said.
(Adapted from THISDAY)
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